If you want to get better, let yourself seem foolish and uncaring about externals. Don’t try to seem knowledgeable. If anyone thinks you’re important, you’re doing it wrong.
It’s difficult to keep your will on track and simultaneously go after external things. Take care of one and you’ll surely neglect the other.
If you wish to make progress, then be content to appear senseless and foolish in externals, do not make it your wish to give the appearance of knowing anything; and if some people think you to be an important personage, distrust yourself. For be assured that it is no easy matter to keep your moral purpose in a state of conformity with nature, and, at the same time, to keep externals; but the man who devotes his attention to one of these two things must inevitably neglect the other.
If you wish to make progress, you must be content in external matters to seem a fool and a simpleton; do not wish men to think you know anything, and if any should think you to be somebody, distrust yourself. For know that it is not easy to keep your will in accord with nature and at the same time keep outward things; if you attend to one you must needs neglect the other.
If you would improve, submit to be considered without sense and foolish with respect to externals. Wish to be considered to know nothing: and if you shall seem to some to be a person of importance, distrust yourself. For you should know that it is not easy both to keep your will in a condition conformable to nature and (to secure) external things: but if a man is careful about the one, it is an absolute necessity that he will neglect the other.
If you wish to advance, you must be content to let people think you senseless and distraught as regards external things. Wish not ever to seem wise, and if ever you shall find yourself account to be somebody, then mistrust yourself. For know that it is not an easy matter to make a choice that shall agree both with external things and with Nature, but it must needs be that he who is careful of the one shall neglect the other.
If you would improve, be content to be thought foolish and dull with regard to externals. Do not desire to be thought to know anything; and though you should appear to others to be somebody, distrust yourself. For be assured, it is not easy at once to keep your will in harmony with nature, and to secure externals; but while you are absorbed in the one, you must of necessity neglect the other.
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don’t wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself. For, it is difficult to both keep your faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature, and at the same time acquire external things. But while you are careful about the one, you must of necessity neglect the other.
Εἰ προκόψαι θέλεις, ὑπόμεινον ἕνεκα τῶν ἐκτὸς ἀνόητος δόξας καὶ ἠλίθιος, μηδὲν βούλου δοκεῖν ἐπίστασθαι: κἂν δόξῃς τις εἶναί τισιν, ἀπίστει σεαυτῷ. ἴσθι γὰρ ὅτι οὐ ῥᾴδιον τὴν προαίρεσιν τὴν σεαυτοῦ κατὰ φύσιν ἔχουσαν φυλάξαι καὶ τὰ ἐκτός, ἀλλὰ τοῦ ἑτέρου ἐπιμελούμενον τοῦ ἑτέρου ἀμελῆσαι πᾶσα ἀνάγκη.